22 December 1999
KCR East Rail Lo Wu Contra Flow Scheme to be implemented in festive days
 
To cope with the increase in cross-boundary patronage at Lo Wu, the KCR East Rail, Immigration Department, Customs & Excise Department and Hong Kong Police Force have made much effort in improving the passenger flow at Lo Wu. With the completion of the improvement works at Lo Wu Station, the KCR East Rail together with the Government Departments will jointly implement a new Contra Flow Scheme to regulate the passenger flow in festive days when necessary.
East Rail being the key cross-boundary transport mode running between Hong Kong and Lo Wu has obtained about 80% market share of the cross-boundary transport service.The average daily patronage of Lo Wu on a weekday is close to 200,000 and 270,000 on weekends.Lo Wu has achieved the highest record on 3 April this year (Ching Ming Festival) with a daily patronage of 320,000 passengers.
Mr Li Yun Tai, Deputy Director of East Rail (Atg) said, "In the long run, the KCRC's Lok Ma Chau Spur Line can help cope with the increase in cross boundary patronage after its opening in 2004.However, in the short run, we will try to improve and maximise the use of the existing facilities to cope with the growth in cross-boundary travellers.The new Contra Flow Scheme can make use the immigration counters at the Arrival and Departure halls flexibly to regulate the cross-boundary passenger flow more efficiently."
The key feature of the Contra Flow Scheme is the construction of two escalators linking the Arrival and Departure Halls. The escalators would enable the facilities of the two halls to be used more flexibly.When there are many departing travellers, they will be directed to use the new escalator to proceed to the immigration counters on the Arrival Hall for departure clearance and then take the escalator back to the G/F Departure Hall to go to Shenzhen through the bridge.Similarly, if there are many arriving travellers, they will be directed to use the escalator to go the G/F Departure Hall for arrival clearance at the departure counters.
According to the original design of the Lo Wu Station Building, there were 68 immigration counters available at the Departure Hall, which could handle a maximum of 13,000 travellers per hour. There were 92 immigration counters on the Arrival Hall, which could handle a maximum of 18,000 travellers per hour. With the implementation of the Contra Flow Scheme, there will be 40 immigration counters on the Arrival Hall to handle departure clearance, while there will be 12 immigration counters on the Departure Hall to be converted to arrival clearance when necessary.
Moreover, the immigration counters at the Departure Hall have been redesigned to front facing setting from the previous side facing setting. The new design and re-arrangement of the counters have widened the hall by 4 meters. It improves the passenger holding capacity in peak hours.
After the re-arrangement of the departure counters, 8 counters have been added to the Departure Hall, together with the 40 counters on the Arrival Hall, there will be a total of 116 counters to handle departing travellers during peak period.About 22,000 travellers can be handled per hour.As compared to the former capacity of 13,000 passengers, the new arrangements can increase the handling capacity by 70%.
For the Arrival Hall during peak period, there will be 104 counters to handle arriving travellers.A maximum of 21,000 travellers can be handled per hour. As compared to the former handling capacity of 18,000 travellers, the new arrangement can increase the handling capacity by 17%.
The Lo Wu improvement project costs about HK$31 million. Design and works started early this year and had only taken 12 months to complete.
Besides the Contra Flow Scheme, KCR East Rail will also strengthen its train service during Christmas and New Year.
On Christmas's Eve (24 Dec), an all night service between Hung Hom and Sheung Shui will be provided with a frequency of 10 - 15 minutes.On Christmas Day (25 Dec), train service will be extended. The last northbound train will depart from Hung Hom Station at 1:30 am, while the last southbound train will depart from Sheung Shui Station at 1:00 am.
On New Year's Eve (31 Dec), train service will be maintained with a frequency of 5 minutes.From 1:30 am onwards, trains will run with a frequency of 10 - 15 minutes.
As there will be cross betting activities on the New Year's Eve (31 Dec) at the Shatin Racecourse, train service to the Shatin Racecourse will also be provided on that day.
On New Year's Eve (31 Dec), to facilitate the departments of both sides of the boundary to prepare for the rollover, the last two cross-boundary trains will be cancelled.That is the last train to Lo Wu will depart from Hung Hom at 10:19 pm.